RARELY has communication been more important than the last few months. I don’t just mean news reports and documentaries updating on our current situation, no, I mean general chit-chat between people.

You see, I have been manning our company switchboard since the lockdown and have been chatting to people from all walks of life from around the world, and what I’ve discovered is that many readers have been in lockdown for months, and sadly I have been the only cheery voice they have spoken to in a very long time.

“Thanks so much for speaking to me,” said one.

“It’s so nice to hear a human voice,” said another.

“Sorry to have taken up so much of your time dear, but it’s been so nice chatting to someone.”

So, the importance of a friendly chat should never be underestimated.

However, this led me to recall an afternoon a few years ago when my friend Christine and I were joined in the pub by our pal Moira.

As soon as she joined us, Moira gave us chapter and verse of a conversation she had had a few nights prior to our catch up.

You see, Moira hadn’t been out of the house for a number of weeks which meant she was more than happy to engage in some friendly conversation.

Even with an enthusiastic salesman!

Finally settling down with a much-needed glass of wine, the phone rang, and a long-winded sales pitch began.

Caller: “Good evening. Is that Ms Mxxxx?”

Moira: “Good evening, it sure is.”

Caller: “My name is Frankie from French Windows and Conservatories.”

Moira: “Hi Frankie.”

Frankie: “Ms Mxxxx is it ok if I call you Moira?”

Realising this was an old sales tactic Moira admitted she was just pleased to have the chance of a chat…. she does like a chat.

Frankie: “Moira, have you ever considered having a conservatory?”

Moira: “No, never. I didn’t think I could have a conservatory.”

Frankie: “Of course you can Moira. Anybody can have a conservatory nowadays.”

Gripped by her phone call, my friend Christine and I wondered where this was going.

Frankie: “Firstly, can you confirm you are the householder and that you are in full-time employment?”

Moira: Yes, Frankie, I certainly am.”

Frankie: “Great Moira, because whatever the style of your property, we have a range of quality conservatories all individually designed to suit your needs.”

The well-rehearsed repertoire continued...

“The superior construction means they are warm in winter and cool in summer.”

Moira: “Well, I never dreamt

I could ever have a conservatory.”

Frankie: Of course, you can Moira. It’s a great sound investment. And if it’s the money you’re worried about, worry no more.”

Apparently, Frankie had an answer for everything.

“We have a finance package to suit everyone.”

Moira: “Really? But….”

Enticing Moira into another world of dreams.

Frankie: “Imagine sitting in the winter Moira, icy cold rain battering against the glass roof and you are snug and cosy in your brand-new warm conservatory.”

Moira told us that she did shut her eyes for a moment and imagine the amazing picture the bold salesman Frankie was drawing.

Moira: “Oh Frankie, that sounds absolutely wonderful but….”

So, Moira tells us she was getting really excited about it and was pacing around the living room with her mobile tucked under her chin listening to Frankie and his chit chat before heading to the kitchen to top up her wine.

After all, they had now been chatting for half an hour.

“Honestly, Janice I was thinking, me with a conservatory? Everyone will think I’ve won the Lottery.”

Now totally engrossed, Christine and I decided it best to remain silent and let her finish her story.

Frankie: “We’ve discussed the option of a finance plan, and it looks promising. We’ve discussed the type of conservatory and the finish you would prefer.”

Frankie was now going in for the kill.

“Now, I can drop in tomorrow morning to finalise the paperwork if that suits?”

Moira: “Definitely, I’m free any time after 10am”.

Frankie: “Brilliant.”

Forty-five minutes of experienced sales patter have finally paid off for Frankie. It’s the most straightforward sale he has had in a very long time.

Frankie: “Just remind me of your address Moira.”

Moira: “Sure, it’s 24B Hutchison Street, top left.”

There is a long uncomfortable silence before….

Frankie: “Did you say TOP LEFT?”

Moira: “Yes, that’s correct, It’s four in a block and I’m top left.”

Frankie: (now struggling to get the words out): “Moira, why didn’t you say you were one floor up?”

By now Christine and I were on stiches on the floor because obviously we knew all along that Moira stayed in a flat as she continued. “His tone completely changed, and the line just went dead.”

We looked incredulously at our pal as she added.

“Well, he was the one who insisted I could have a conservatory.”

Moira watched as we held our sides before innocently asking.

“I suppose that means I can’t have one then?”